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Byram Hills Basketball Skylar Sinon

Byram Hills Loses 59-52 Overtime Heartbreaker at Hen Hud

By Rich Monetti

February 24, 2018

On Friday night at Hen Hud, fifth seeded Byram Hills played the fourth seeded Sailors to the rankings as halftime arrived. A 28-26 Hen Hud lead had far from settled things in the Section One, Class A Quarterfinals, and neither did the 49-49 score at the end of regulation. But after Kyle James muscled a hook over Ben Leff for a 54-52 Hen Hud lead, the road rims were more than unkind for the Bobcats, and all Skylar Sinon could do was wince. Two late shots from the senior guard rimmed out and just refused to go down. This left Bobcats season over and the illustrious run for the Byram Hills star.

The iron didn’t come into play to start the third, though. Sinon’s swish one upped Hen Hud’s first half lead, but the Sailors were far from being shaken.

In between, two forced turnovers, James sunk one from the line, and Dylan Fraser went baseline to give Hen Hud a two point lead again. Nonetheless, Sinon was up to the back-and-forth.

Off a kick out from Dylan Friedman, Sinon didn’t let the contact get in the way of another three for a 32-31 lead. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, Hen Hud had a counter at guard that also would not be denied.

With more stout, Austin Fraser had just as many moves, and made no bones of willing his way through the paint. Creating separation with just under five minutes left in the third, he showed off a left handed hook, and gave the Sailors the lead again at 33-32.

Sinon answered back by going inside out. He followed his own miss and then shook off the double team on a short jumper to regain the lead at 36-35. Dazzling the crowd and the defense, Sinon hit a short jumper to give Byram a 40-37 lead in the closing minutes of the third.

After a Mekhi Gray free throw to close the quarter, a Byram Hills two-on-one break seemed to have the Bobcats poised to make their move. But Austin Fraser stripped Willy Samsen as he went up for the lay up. The Hen Hud guard then went coast to coast to tie the score with 6:40 remaining.

Byram Hills regained the momentum moments later, though. Ben Leff, who stood tall against James and gave him fits at times, forced the Hen Hud Center to miss, and Sinon sunk a pull up to give the Bobcats a 42-40 lead.

But a contested three that sent Gray to the floor got the Hen Hud crowd out of their seats, and another hard drive by Austin Fraser kept the Hen Hud student body standing.

A 47-44 lead with 2:51 left seemed commanding, and a long miss by Sinon looked even more ominous from the other side of the gym. But Samsen lowered the boom in heavy traffic underneath.

On a feed inside from Sam Goldman, Samsen grunted as he went to the glass, and then sunk the free-throw to tie the score with 1:47 remaining.

Fraser wasn’t done yet, though. Once again using his deft and muscle to get to the rim, he spun inside for a perfect look at the glass but could not convert. Refusing to be deterred, the guard got his own rebound, took the contact and put in the follow.

After missing the free throw, the Bobcats faced a 49-47 deficit with 25 seconds remaining and the rim began to foretell what was to come in overtime. Sinon rimmed out with about 13 seconds left. But Leff got the board and kicked out to Sinon. Keeping his head, Sinon passed out of the double team and found Goldman in the corner.

All the tension in the iron, Goldman calmly lofted a three and the ball went in and out again. But Samsen was there for the rebound, and he followed to tie the score with 4 seconds left.

A long three by Gray ended regulation and added four more minutes to the drama.

A Michael Pasolina jumper seemed to have the Sailors seeing the final act with two minutes left in overtime. However, Samsen showed he was at home whether under the basket or twenty feet away. He took the space the defense gave and nailed the three to tie the game at 52.

The momentum shift, though, still had Leff trying to contain James on the low post, and there was no defending him this time. James’ hook shot went in, and on the other end, Sinon’s near miss with 23.8 remaining finally ended the back-and-forth.

Still, one for two at the line for Hen Hud gave the Bobcats hope, but once again, the rim had other ideas for Sinon’s attempted three.

Regardless, Rob Catagna, Byram Hills Athletic Director, praised what Sinon and this team has meant to the community. “They are great students, great role models, and they give back to the community. That is why we embrace them. They’ve also come up through the junior leagues, they love the game, they play it the right way, and that’s the legacy they leave behind,” he concluded.

Byram Hills girls basketball
Byram Hills Girls fall 67-44 to Top Seeded John Jay
By Rich Monetti

February 17, 2018
When Byram Hills did manage to set up in their half court offense versus John Jay in the first round of the Girls Class A sectionals on Friday night, the 15 seeding positions separating the two teams didn’t seem so far apart. But the home team’s ferocious defense easily declawed the Bobcat attack, and Byram Hills was left with a season ending 67-44 defeat.

“They have a phenomenal defense, and they forced a ton of steals tonight,” Byram Hills coach Tara Ryan lamented.

After Kendal Degenhardt fed Kelsey Walsh for John Jays first two, the Bobcats immediately saw what they were up against. Ana Dorta's quick hands stripped Beth Corelli on the baseline and what looked like an easy layup resulted in a turnover.

A Michaela Milano followup by Byram’s center was the last look that the Bobcats would have at a fair share at 5:55 of the first.  Off the 2-2 tie, John Jay’s Jenna Giardina nailed an open three, and Degenhardt began the Bobcats long fade into the rearview mirror. The Indian guard came up with a backcourt steal and fed Giardina for a 6-2 lead.

Following a Byram Hills time out, Corelli’s steal and coast to coast layup for the Bobcats proved only a blip. Pressure defense in the front and backcourt had the Bobcats losing the chase, and the Indians were left having their way on offense.

Kelsey Walsh led the way inside. A strong follow on the offensive boards and then a baby hook shot gave John Jay at 13-6 lead.  John Jay closed its first quarter scoring at 1:02 off another steal and a fast break basket by Degenhardt. But getting the chance to set up and move the ball on their end, Corelli kept it respectable by hitting a jumper to close the quarter at 18-10.

Maggie Walsh missing the chance to get the Bobcats closer at the free throw line, and John Jay quickly made use of the misfires.  In between two threes by Kelly Nolan, Dorta converted another fast break layup off a Byram Hills turnover.

Walsh still did what she could to make up with two inside baskets. But more John Jay slight off hand by Giardina and Dorta grew the lead to 32-14 with 4:13 remaining in the half.

Walsh and the Bobcats’ effort would not be deterred, though. The senior forward took feeds from Corelli and Mui and converted both times to hold the separation at 36-18.

However, John Jay was no stranger to good ball movement either. Nolan came open off the Indian quickness around the arc and calmly nailed another three. Degenhardt would extend the lead to 25 before Sam Pieratti closed the half at 45-22 on the fast break for Byram Hills.

John Jay didn’t waste any time off the intermission and got right back to work on both ends. The Indians forced a turnover on the inbounds and Degenhardt lined up a deuce to regain the 25 point lead.

John Jay’s largest lead dropped through the nylon on Nolan’s three from the side and a 56-25 lead left plenty room for John Jay to cruise to victory. But the score never put a dent in Byram Hills effort or demeanor.

“I’m proud that they didn’t give up,” said Coach Ryan. “But that’s sports. You’re losing, you play on, you learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.”

A prospect that she eagerly awaits. ich“Only two of our players won’t be coming back. So we’ll almost be the same team but a year older, a year smarter and a year wiser,” she concluded.